Tools and Resources for Online Teaching (Part 1)

In this article, I am going to share some of my ideas about how to keep Google Classroom neat and organized, as well as how to use Jamboard as an effective whiteboard.

Tools and Tips

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Google Classroom

Google Classroom (GC) has become the primary instructional platform for most teachers in Ontario since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I like it and I hate it. I like it because it is such a powerful platform for teachers to deliver content to students. I hate it because it can sometimes be messy and challenging when it comes to organizing content. It took me a while, but I found a way to organize it.

Following are some tips to stay organized.

1. Organize your content by date and week numbers

Create a topic before you upload your materials and homework. Name your topic by week number and date. For example, Week 1 (January 4 – 8). In this way, you always know when you taught a specific topic.

Picture 1

2. Label your activities with types, topics and dates

After you sort out your date and week numbers, you can upload your lessons and materials. When you upload them, label them with types, topics and dates. This helps you keep track of your teaching content. For example, label materials and indicate their types, such as test, homework, notes, or lesson. (See Picture 1). The reason for doing so is to help your students understand what materials they should be working on. I had this problem last September. It took me a while to figure out that my students did not understand what these uploads were for. I needed to better explain to them different types of activities. After that, one student asked if I could label them so that she’d know which were homework and which were lesson materials.

3. Bonus: Create a library for your students!

You can create a library on GC and encourage your students to read more. My library (Read for Fun) includes reading, grammar and writing tips. My students love it.


Jamboard is very user-friendly, especially for lower level students. It does not require “special tech knowledge” to sign up or sign in. As long as your students know how to use GC, they know how to use Jamboard.

  1. Use Jamboard as your whiteboard.

I normally use Jamboard as a whiteboard. After finishing the class, I save the notes and upload them to GC so that students can always have access to the notes from class. You can even upload your Jamboard notes one day ahead to help students preview the lesson. One thing I did not do with my lower level students is use Jamboard to interact with them in class because they always mistakenly delete pages and content instead of writing things down.

Picture 2
  1. Organize Jamboard by date and topic.

A shortfall of Jamboard is that it does not allow users to create folders. I like to stay organized by putting my content in folders, but Jamboard does not have this function. This isn’t the end of the world. There are two ways to keep your Jamboard notes organized:

a. Label each note with the date and topic.

When you create a Jamboard, name it with a date and a topic. In this way, you always know when you taught specific topics. See Picture 2.

b. Create folders on Google Drive and organize the notes there.

Picture 3

If you still think that looking at all the notes on Jamboard is too cluttered, then you can create folders on Google Drive to organize your notes there. See Picture 3.

  1. Be Careful!

Don’t forget to tell your students to download Jamboard on their phones or tablets in order to be able to open the notes. The notes cannot be opened if they don’t have the app on their devices.

What are your online teaching tips? What are your favourite online tools and resources? Leave your comments here and share your expertise. Next time, I will share my tips about how to use WhatsApp to interact with lower level students, and how to use plug-ins to improve your Google Meet experience.

Hello, my name is Bei Zhang. I am delighted to be part of the team to share my ideas and experience. I am currently working at Huron University College as an English Language Learning specialist. My job there is to help international students with their academic English language skills. I also teach ESL and LINC at Thames Valley District School Board, and ESL at London Language Institute, a private language school in London. I graduated in 2018 with a master’s degree in Education Studies from Western University, focused on applied linguistics and teacher education. I also have a background in human resources management. I hope that my unique perspective of teaching ESL in different educational systems can benefit the TESL Ontario Blog and our members.


7 thoughts on “Tools and Resources for Online Teaching (Part 1)”

  1. Thanks so much Bai for the great tips! It is helpful for both teachers and students to have an organized Google classroom.

  2. Sorry Bei for misspelling your name. Again, I appreciate what you’ve shared. I’d love to hear more wonderful online teaching tips. Something I’ve done in my Google classrooms is to post websites, videos and other resources under materials for those students who want or need a bit more help or instruction. These supplements also serve to clarify or to cement what has been taught during class time.

    1. Thank you Susan!!Extra materials always help our students, eh? My new trick to help my lower-level students with their reading is children books. I have uploaded a bunch of children books for them to read. Easy language. Easy to understand. They have been really enjoying those books.

  3. I do a similar thing with Google Classroom… that is group activities, etc. by week with a label, in sequence.

    I have a “Keepers” folder that I keep at the top… with class rules, etc.

    Jamboard…. I am begin to explore it more. For a literacy class I use it often and it gets real messy, real fast.
    I think I’ve overlooked this resource as something to use in a more systematic, planned way.

    Great article! Thanks.

    1. Thank you Heidi!! I love the idea of having a “Keepers” folder! I’m definitely going to try it. ? You can never be too organized ?

  4. Thanks for the great info about how you use Jamboard, I definitely need to get ‘on board’ with it 😉 Im gonna check out the linkedIn course for it and see if I cant get a better grasp of all its features. Your suggestions are helpful – I especially love the idea of having a resource library that you share with your student in Google classroom. Love that idea! Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much Sarah!! There’s a lot for me to learn about Jamboard too. The only thing the Jamboard really bugs me is that I can create folders to keep them organized. Ugh!

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